Immigration and Refugee Resettlement

Working toward fair and just immigration and refugee policies is important to the profession of social work and essential to the realization of human rights.  Social workers recognize migration as a complex social, cultural, and political process. 

In the many roles played by social workers, as both policy advocates and direct service providers, we impact immigrant and refugee populations and policy.  Social workers may design and coordinate community support programs for refugee families both in the U.S. and in other countries, advocate for stronger refugee resettlement services or carry out research. In the U.S., social workers assist newly arrived refugees in roles such as resettlement caseworkers or job developers.  Internationally, social workers may work with a humanitarian aid organization and coordinate psychosocial programs for children in refugee camps or work for an organization such as UNICEF or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to affect policy and design programs. 

Social workers are often stopped from effectively assisting clients due to punitive laws and policies denying access to needed resources.  Social workers should become familiar with the dynamics of migration as well as the implications of immigration policy on individuals and families in order to effectively support immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and internationally.

International-related links
Social Work and Refugees
Social Work and Global Migration
Social Work and Internally Displaced Persons
Domestic-related links
NASW Information and Advocacy on Immigration and Refugees
Resources for Working with Immigrant and Refugee Populations
U.S. Immigration and Refugee Resettlement
U.S. Immigration and Refugee Coalitions
  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services  provides national technical assistance to organizations serving refugees and immigrants so that all newcomer children and youth can reach their potential.
  • Detention Watch Network on Human Rights and Immigration Detention is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocates for humane reform so that all who come to our shores receive fair and humane treatment.
  • Refugee Council USA  is a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations focused on refugee protection.
  • The National Immigration Forum is an immigrant advocacy organization in the U.S. with a mission to advocate for the value of immigrants and immigration to the nation.
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